Playgroup Pitfalls

Not the Playgroup You Signed Up For

The Moms are Competitive

Ann Murphy, a mother of two in San Francisco, says she enjoyed her playgroup for the first few months, but by the fourth month of weekly meetings, she was fed up. "It felt like nonstop bragging. The other moms would go on and on about what new milestone their amazing, spectacular, gifted baby had just achieved," she recalls. "My daughter wasn't doing any of the things the other babies were doing." All of the comparisons made Murphy anxious, and she grew bored with the fact that all the discussion was focused on the kids. Also, the thought of hosting playgroup threw Murphy into a tailspin. "Having to make sure the house was clean, preparing snacks, worrying about toddlers spilling juice on my furniture -- who needs it?"

Possible solution: If you like the idea of having somewhere to go every week, you could suggest bringing in some new blood. Once you get the green light, invite a like-minded friend to join. After all, working with the playgroup you're in is easier than trying to start a new one. And if you suffer from hosting anxiety, you can always look for a group that meets at a neutral place like a park or church meeting room.

You're Just Not a Playgroup Kind of Person

Sometimes the problem isn't the's you. If you're simply not the group type, there's no shame in calling it quits.

"I've joined three playgroups over the years," says Julie Taylor, of Long Beach, California. "I found it stressful having to be somewhere at a certain time. Out of the whole group, there would be one person I really liked, and I wished I could hang out only with her. I same to realize that groups are just not my thing."

Possible solution: Accept that you're more of a one-on-one kind of gal, and plan to get together with just one other mom for coffee and playdates. How do you find that like-minded person? You never know, she might be at that playgroup you're about to drop out of!

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